Make the most of Isa season

Money, yesterday
"This Isa season has been a little disappointing but there are still some good deals to be had if you shop around," Matt Sanders,
  • | by Abbie Laughton-Coles

'Tis the season to be jolly... No, we're not still banging on about Christmas, we mean Isa season, of course!

As we draw closer and closer to the tax year's grand finale in April, what can we expect from this year's Isa offers?

What is Isa season?

For those who don't have a clue, Isa season takes place in the months running up to the end of the tax year, which finishes on April 5.

It's traditionally when banks and building societies offer exciting and exhilarating deals to encourage potential or existing customers to use up their tax-free allowance before the deadline.

How is it looking this year?

2013 wasn't particularly kind to savers, with the Bank of England base rate being stuck at a historic low of 0.5%.

With phrases  like 'damp squib' and 'lame duck' being thrown around, 2014 doesn't look like shaping up to be a vintage year either.

With some of the best deals around falling by the wayside and a shortage of new products being added to the market, what's a saver to do?

What are my options?

It's not all doom and gloom. There are still some Isas out there flaunting their marginally higher rates for dedicated savers, if you look hard enough.

Which account should I choose?

If you already have money in an Isa where the rate has dropped, you could consider transferring to another which offers a better rate. Check whether your current deal allows it, and if there are any penalties involved.

With the unimpressive cash Isa offerings at the moment, you could think about taking advantage of a stocks and shares Isa which has a tax-free allowance of £11,520 this tax year.

But if you choose this option you must always remember that your investment could go down as well as up. If in doubt, consult an independent financial adviser.

Money expert at, Matt Sanders, says: "This year's Isa season isn't looking great, but there are still some good deals to be had if you shop around. It makes sense to use up your tax-free allowance so you can keep all the interest that your savings earn for yourself, rather than having to give up to 40% of it away to the taxman. 2014 looks to be all about getting the best deal from a bad bunch."